Pearl District Community 'Blindsided' By Charity's Relocation Proposal

Tuesday, August 25th 2015, 7:27 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa’s Board of Adjustment delayed a hearing on a controversial move by a charity that feeds poor people.

Iron Gate wants to move from its downtown location just inside the Pearl District, and that's upset many nearby residents and property owners.

Iron Gate wants to move over to 3rd and Peoria and build a large soup kitchen that can handle their growing crowds.

The neighbors believe they were blindsided by the proposal and now both sides get a chance to talk it out.

The lines start early outside Iron Gate, where up to 600 people eat every morning. The soup kitchen feeds people seven days a week, and three days a week has a grocery giveaway that helps many people.

That's a blessing, a real blessing.

But Iron Gate long ago outgrew the church basement at Trinity Episcopal and started looking for land - narrowing down two dozen sites to one at 3rd and Peoria.

Iron Gate plans to demolish the old building and replace it with one big enough so people wouldn't have to wait outside to get food.

Connie Cronley with Iron Gate said the site was picked because it's on a bus route and near so many of Iron Gate's clients.

"That's the central location, easiest for our people to get there," she said.

But the crowd at the Board of Adjustment doesn't agree the location is so perfect. The vast majority of the crowd stood up to show they don't want Iron Gate in the Pearl District.

After recognizing overwhelming opposition to their rezoning application, Iron Gate asked for a delay to meet with the neighborhood.

The neighbors wanted the board to turn down the plan and didn't believe they could be convinced that Iron Gate would be a positive addition.

Despite that, the board decided to wait so the sides could talk.

Property owner, Ken Williams, said, "It's a good organization, but it is a bad location, it's that's simple."

Other property owners believe a stream of poor people in and out will scare off investors who are finally coming in.

The community meeting is next Tuesday night at Trinity Episcopal Church and then the issue is before the Board of Adjustment again in two weeks.